A memorial for Kobe Bryant, who died with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven other people in a helicopter crash last month, will be held at Staples Center, the arena where the N.B.A. legend played for most of his 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to a person familiar with the arrangements.
The service will be held Feb. 24, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans had not been publicly announced. The memorial is expected to draw thousands of mourners from across Southern California and beyond in a show of support for Bryant, 41, who spent 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Staples Center, which was the site of memorial services for celebrities like Michael Jackson and the rapper Nipsey Hussle, can hold a crowd of about 20,000, far less than the capacity at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, another venue that was under consideration. The Lakers do not have a game scheduled for the day of the memorial, but the Clippers, who also play at Staples, have a home game against the Memphis Grizzlies at 7:30 p.m. Pacific time.
The date and venue for the memorial were first reported Thursday by The Los Angeles Times.
Bryant, a practicing Catholic, belonged to Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Newport Beach, Calif., and spent time there “to reflect and pray” in the early hours of Jan. 26, said Tracey Kincaid, a spokeswoman for the Diocese of Orange County.
Hours later, the helicopter taking Bryant and others to his sports academy for a basketball tournament plummeted into the foggy hills in Calabasas, Calif. The crash killed all nine people on board, and other memorials and vigils have been announced for at least some of the victims.
Catholic funerals traditionally include a full Mass at a church, followed by a burial, an option that could provide a private goodbye. Kincaid said last week that the diocese had not been involved in any funeral discussions. “Right now, we’re respecting the privacy of the family and waiting to hear what any funeral plans would be,” she said.